Italy still hoping to have a home bobsled track for ’26 Olympics
MILAN — Italy’s sports minister is “more than confident” that ice sliding events at the 2026 Winter Olympics will take place in Cortina d’Ampezzo, despite the IOC’s insistence that organizers should seek an existing venue outside the country.
Organizers of the Milan-Cortina Olympics acknowledged in October that bobsled, luge and skeleton events were set to be raced in neighboring Austria or Switzerland after scrapping a delayed and increasingly costly plan to revive the storied and scenic Cortina sliding track.
But the Italian government is keen for the 2026 Games not to become the first Winter Olympics to have events held outside the host nation and a scaled-down plan for renovating the Cortina track was discussed at a local organizing committee meeting on Wednesday.
“We’ll look at it in the next few days with (finance minister Giancarlo) Giorgetti and we’ll unravel the knots, I’m more than confident,” Minister for Sport Andrea Abodi said when asked if sliding events could still be held in Cortina.
While initial costs for rebuilding the Eugenio Monti track in Cortina had risen to 150 million euros ($160 million), a scaled back plan could cost half that. But the clock is ticking with the games little more than two years away — and test events slated for 2025.
“There will be economic and technical evaluations and we will give the organizing committee clear directions — in accordance with the IOC,” Abodi said.
A plan to renovate another mothballed track in Cesana, which was used for the 2006 Turin Winter Games, was also discussed on Wednesday despite the International Olympic Committee firmly shutting down that idea last month.
The IOC had long been skeptical about the Cortina sliding track project and urges Olympic hosts to avoid building venues which do not fulfil a proven need for local communities. Using venues outside a host country is now encouraged to limit costs for Olympic organizers, who typically go over their initial budgets.
The tracks in Swiss resort St. Moritz or Igls in Austria — respectively about 200 and 100 miles (320 and 160 kilometers) from Cortina — are likely to be the only two seriously considered as alternatives.
“We have full collaboration with the IOC, we’ll find a solution,” Abodi said. “They are the owners of the Games, we’re the temporary managers so we have to respect the IOC’s rules, which we know.
“The IOC has always shown that they also understand our worries and problems.”
A final decision, with the IOC, is expected by next month at the latest.
“We will,” Abodi said, “find a solution.”